I'm Taking a Year Off to See the World

I Quit My Job to See the World

Photo, Liz Behler

You might recognize Liz Behler from right here at AOL Travel where she served as features editor. Before joining our team, Liz also lent her talents to the pages of "Philadelphia Magazine" and the crew of TV's "Trading Spaces." Now, the 27-year-old Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native is embarking on a new venture: a year-long trip around the world. We caught up with Liz before she began the first leg of her journey and found out all about her decision to pack up and go.

What inspired you to quit your job to travel?
I've always wanted to do long term travel – to make travel a way of life instead of just a vacation. It's something I had thought about for years, but had never acted on. About a year and a half ago, I was working on an article called "I Quit My Job and Traveled the World," and I interviewed over a dozen amazing people who had taken the leap. One question I asked them all was if they had any regrets. Not one person had a regret other than they wished they would've taken the trip sooner. The seed had already been planted years before I worked on that article, but I think it helped the idea to grow and become a reality.

When did you first know you had the travel bug?
I don't have an "a-ha!" memory of the moment I realized that travel was something I wanted to be an integral part of my life. All I know is that I've been restless for as long as I can remember. I always knew that there was more worth seeing in this world than there was time, and all I wanted to do was to try to see as much as possible, even if it only amounted to a fraction.

What's on your itinerary?
We're starting in South America, with our first stop in Argentina, then working our way through Uruguay and Brazil over the course of about six weeks. Once in Rio de Janeiro, we are catching a repositioning cruise to Rome, Italy. The crossing will take two weeks, but was one-third the price of airfare. During this trip, money may be a constraint, but time is a luxury we have to spare.
Once in Europe, the plan is to hop around the continent using budget airlines. We'll be utilizing organizations like CouchSurfing and WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) to stretch our budget, and have some friends that have generously offered to let us stay with them. After Europe, we're planning to head to Asia and Australia.

What stops are you most excited about?
Our trip begins in Buenos Aires, so I'm especially excited for that. The more I've learned about the city, the more I've fallen in love with it. Another destination I'm looking forward to is Morocco. I found a 7 euro Ryanair flight from Rome to Marrakech. I can't wait to explore the spice markets and see the snake charmers, storytellers and acrobats at the Jamaa el Fna.

Do you have any advice or tips for people contemplating this same move?
Don't tell yourself what you can't do. When hearing about this trip, a common response has been "I wish I could..." or "I wish I would've..." So many people use the excuse of money, time or obligations to not follow their dreams of traveling. The truth is, if you really want to do it, you will. Making the decision to go is the hardest part.
Don't be afraid to defy convention. In America, we typically go to school, get a job, retire, and then if we're still in good health and have the finances, travel. But just because that's the expected course of life events doesn't mean that's how yours has to play out. You live the life you create for yourself, so why not make it the one you've always dreamed of?

Follow Liz's journey at her website, The Travel Beast. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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